What the baby feels during labor and delivery

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What does the baby feel during labor

We are all very well informed about what happens to the mother during labor and in the expulsive period, just before the birth of the baby. But have we ever wondered what happens to the baby and what it feels like during labor? That is, how does he live this phase that precedes birth? There are some studies on this, and thanks to the technologies that have allowed us to monitor labor and delivery from the point of view of the child, we can answer several questions about it.

In this article

  • How is it possible that the baby's head is able to pass into the mother's pelvis?
  • Does the baby feel pain during labor?
  • What does the baby see or hear during labor?
  • Movements of the baby during contractions
  • Can the baby breathe during labor?
  • What changes if my birth is not spontaneous but is a caesarean section?

How is it possible that the baby's head is able to pass into the mother's pelvis?

It is a painstaking work of space occupation. The baby's head size is approx 10cm in diameter; the bony pelvis of the mother has a shape similar to a funnel, in turn covered by the muscular and mucous layers. Therefore, in order to cross the pelvis, the child needs to turn his head and body in order to occupy the largest and easiest diameter each time. Furthermore, the bones of the child's head are not welded together, which allows, in the event that the head is slightly larger than the pelvis, a slight overlapping of the bones, thus reducing the diameter and allowing the passage. The crossing of the cranial bones it can be felt by touching the baby's head, it is a sort of step around the center of the head that runs along its entire length from the forehead to the beginning of the occipital bone. Quiet, however, the step will not remain forever, in fact as the days go by it flattens out.

Read also: What it feels like during childbirth

Does the baby feel pain during labor?

There are no definitive studies on this yet, but we can say that the crushing caused by contractions and narrow spaces, the fatigue of having to move and the oxygen supply that drops during contractions, lead the child to experience intense stress. If this stress is not kept in check with the heart rate monitoring of the baby during labor (especially in the final stages) can lead to serious damage such as asphyxiation.


What the baby feels in the belly

Sounds, noises, pain: what does the fetus feel during the nine months of pregnancy?

What does the baby see or hear during labor?

Babies already in the belly of the mother at term of pregnancy have developed senses so they are able to perceive sounds, smells, tastes and above all, they have very sensitive skin. Sight is the least developed sense organ because the small spaces of the maternal uterus do not require it to be particularly acute. So I would say that more than seeing, the child feels at all levels he hears the voices coming from outside, he hears the mother's bowel, heart and respiratory movements. Plus she also hears the contractions from a tactile point of view and warns through the passage of hormones from the placenta if the mother is stressed, tired, anxious or afraid.

Movements of the baby during contractions

The child as you have guessed is active part of labor and collaborates with the thrust of contraction to make birth easier. For example, in the middle stages of labor, he pushes his feet to the bottom of the uterus during contraction to help with uterine dilation. In the final phase, however, in the expulsive period, the child rotates on itself (not swapping head and feet, but you have to imagine it as if it were rolling from side to side) to bring its most resistant bones into contact with the maternal pubic bone. At the time of birth, he will place his occiput under the pubic bone, using it as a pivot, to slide his entire head out. The same thing he will do with the collarbone, using it as a pivot to get completely out of the mother's body.

Can the baby breathe during labor?

The main supply of oxygen in this phase there is always the blood that passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord. The mother is therefore the main source of oxygen for the baby, which is why this is so important breathing in labor. However, it should be emphasized that the child performs the so-called fetal breathing movements, that is, excursions of the chest that simulate what the first breath will be once born. We can say that it does a sort of breathing test rather than a real breath.

What changes if my birth is not spontaneous but is a caesarean section?

There are some differences compared to a child who is born spontaneously. First of all the head will be rounder, less flattened; the first breath will be done faster (according to some studies this could be painful) and, since there were no contractions, it could stay fast for some time in order to allow the fluid contained in the lungs to escape.

I conclude by offering you a reflection. Now that we know what abilities the baby has during labor, you can't think about how important it is that we communicate with our babies by asking them for help during labor. since when have i been in the belly? They are not folk traditions or crazy rituals and perhaps worth a try.

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